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Okaloosa County fire kills woman

OKALOOSA COUNTY   -- A 29-year-old Okaloosa County woman is dead after an overnight fire.

It happened just after midnight, at the Royale Apartments on Colonial Drive in Fort Walton Beach.

Who waited outside their homes as firefighters tried to save the woman's life.
Laura Hussey "From the outside, you can barely tell there was a fire here at the Royale Apartments. But if you were here, you could still smell the smoke. And you'd hear stories of the young mother who died in her apartment"

There are sixteen units in the building.
When Tina Robinson was awakened by the dog barking, she headed for the hallway to see what was going on.

Tina Robinson "Then soon as I opened the door, it was smoke everywhere, so I had to hurry up and vacate"
Tina "It was really hard to actually go through smoke and especially down some stairs"
Firefighters were searching the building, breaking down doors when necessary to find the source of the smoke.
Tina "We didn't actually know where the fire was coming from, we thought it was next door from us at this apartment, come to find out it was downstairs."
When firefighters entered Tabitha Tidwell's apartment, smoke billowed out; there were flames in the kitchen.
Tidwell was unconscious and in cardiac arrest.
Tina "Didn't nobody know she was in there, it was so devastating"
The emergency crew did CPR but she was pronounced dead at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
Neighbor Gabriel Del Toro says she lived in the complex for two years.
His heart goes out to her three-year-old son, who was not in the apartment at the time of the fire.

Gabriel Del Toro/Neighbor "She a good person. She live by herself with the baby. Now the baby ain't got no mama".
Tabitha Tidwell went to Choctawhatchee High School and worked at a Resort Management company.

Laura Hussey "The State Fire Marshal's office is investigating what caused the fire."